I am behind on book blogging, as some of you may have noticed, whether because of the recent trip to London or the waning of light–who knows? And I am also behind on reading new books. (I do intend to read one a week.). Right now I am in the midlle of Peter Stothard’s engrossing book, The Senecans: Four Men and Margaret Thatcher.
Stothard, a former editor of the Times Literary Supplement and The London Times, is not only a journalist but also an Oxford-educated classicist who has written two other brilliant books, Alexandria: The Last Nights of Cleopatra and On the Spartacus Road. I come to this book through my love of classics, but many will be drawn to the history and politics. In this gracefully-written memoir, he recounts his fascination with Nero and Seneca and compares Thatcher to Nero and at least one of her advisors to Seneca. (As a young editor at the Times, he met with them regularly.)
The catalyst for the book is, in part, a series of interviews by a Miss R., a young historian researching the Thatcher era. She questions Stothard about his journalistic relationships with Thatcher and her advisors. Stothard’s prose is always sharp, observant, and often lyrical. (More about this next week.)
He is also witty and often very funny. I burst out laughing when Miss R. shows up at Stothard’s office with a new notebook labelled Seneca..
When Miss R arrives today she is most pleased by her own notebook, smug I would say but don’t. This is not a new electronic device. She holds it so that I can see the printed name, with a stamp from Foyles bookshop, SENECA, its cover page orange and the next place lemon, both colours faintly silvered. The printed letters of the name are blue-black, the colour of her nail varnish. SENECA belongs to one of the bookseller’s SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT.
I have the same notebook! Well, almost.
I couldn’t seem to get out of Foyles. I bought two of these small School of Life notebooks. Why? They remind me of the blue books we wrote exams in. (I always liked the look of those blue books.)
I didn’t find Miss R’s Seneca notebook, but I have Heidigger and Caulfield.
I love notebooks. I have so many.
Here are some other notebooks I have loved:
The Semikolon notebooks are a tiny bit bigger than the School of Life. They also fit in a purse. I used the purple when I tutored a Greek student. And I took notes in the orange notebook during my mother’s hospitalization a few years ago: “She seemed depressed today. She didn’t want to cooperate with the PT. She stopped in the hall after about 10 feet and said she wanted to rest. The PT said, “Two more rooms and we can rest, okay?”)
I love the paperback Apica notebooks. The “Ideas for blog” notebook had a a few ideas for a blog, then turned into a bicycling journal.
I used the Miquelius 4 notebook to prep for an adult ed Latin class a few years ago. (I am teaching indirect statement–which you can see if you can read my indecipherable writing. And if you can read it, I’ll give you a free book.) The smaller one is full of lists.
I have so many notebooks. Too many notebooks. What is your favorite notebook (if there is a brand)?